diamond geezer

 Saturday, May 01, 2021

30 unblogged things I did in April

Thu 1: Walked past the fenced-off area on Wanstead Flats and listened to the skylarks singing, confirming that the fenced-off area works.
Fri 2: The sick-looking history tree in Temple Mills Lane has been cut down and replaced by a new mature specimen (which as yet doesn't have a large steel ring attached).



Sat 3: I hoped the special prize cryptic crossword would keep me occupied for a substantial portion of the weekend but instead I had it polished off by 6pm, an hour earlier than last Easter. This never normally happens.
Sun 4: The Gentle Author has written a history of St Mary's Church in Bow (and the surrounding locality) that's so good, and so detailed, that nobody else need ever bother.
Mon 5: Today's highlight was crossing Walthamstow Marshes in the snow, which was highly unusual for Easter Monday (not the weather, which happens more often than you'd think, but the fact I hadn't gone on a big long trip somewhere outside London).
Tue 6: Used my last three recycling bags to dispose of monthsworth of boxes, bottles and paper (and am now waiting for libraries to reopen so I can collect more bags, because Tower Hamlets council don't like to make recycling easy).
Wed 7: Celebrated 20 years of knowing BestMate by doing the same walk we first made in April 2001, spotting herons and opening two bags of Mini Cheddars.



Thu 8: Things you find up a random street in Canonbury - a brick substation for the former Islington Electricity Department.
Fri 9: I would tell you about the unexpected but uplifting out-of-comfort-zone morning I had, but Prince Philip's death was announced a few minutes afterwards so all normal exposition is on pause as a mark of respect.
Sat 10: There's been a lot of fuss about the history wall fronting the Crossrail tracks in North Woolwich, which has led to the panel casually referencing local murders to be removed, so it's reassuring to see the panels about diphtheria, mugging and bodies being flung out of tower blocks after gas explosions are still in situ.



Sun 11: Randomly bumped into a former date (and their subsequent partner) outside Borough Market and stopped for a nice catch-up chat. Discovered they'd lost their job and are no longer local, so unless something equally random happens in the future I doubt I'll ever see them again.
Mon 12: Impressed by the number of people sat at small tables outside Westfield in temperatures below ten degrees grimly sipping an alcoholic drink, purely because they now can.
Tue 13: Work is finally underway to turn The Crystal into London's new City Hall, which thus far seems to stretch to removing the Royal Docks exhibition, obscuring the windows with sheeting and setting up a works compound outside.
Wed 14: busatlas.uk is a wonderful attempt at mapping the UK's principal inter-urban and rural bus services, such as they still are. Thus far the project has ticked off most of the counties along the south and east coast of England plus some of the Midlands. Here are Sussex and Suffolk, for example.



Thu 15: Bethnal Green's independent natural history gift and concept lifestyle store has reopened, or at least its door is open should anyone consider walking inside, and if that isn't a sign of creeping gentrification I don't know what is.
Fri 16: Shot five seconds of a top-performing YouTube video.
Sat 17: The years showcased on Pick of the Pops have been nudging later recently and are now generally from the range 1976-1996. Years before 1976 have only featured twice in the last six months, whereas the 21st century has popped up five times (usually with a fairly lacklustre musical selection).
Sun 18: Other things I saw in Bermondsey - a blue plaque on a closed pub because Paul McCartney once filmed a video inside, a bronze cat on a river wall and six pigtails for £9.



Mon 19: Birdwatching update: I spotted the allegedly elusive kingfisher skimming low over the Lea at the end of Channelsea Creek, which does seem to be a hotspot. And then two hours later I spotted another, or possibly the same bird, beyond the Park limits in the much quieter waters just upstream of Eastway and the A12. Twice in one day is ridiculously brilliant. [map of sightings]
Tue 20: A few weeks late, but they've finally refilled the Hertford Union Canal. Dozens of narrowboats have already dashed back to grab a coveted mooring space.
Wed 21: It's a shame Count Binface didn't use his page in the London Mayoral booklet to promote his manifesto because some of his policies are rather good (No shop to be allowed to sell a croissant for more than £1) (The hand dryer in the gents toilet at the Crown & Treaty, Uxbridge, to be moved to a more sensible position) (Ceefax to be brought back for all households within the M25)
Thu 22: I'm using lockdown to catch up on classic films I really should have watched before. Today Evil Under The Sun, yesterday Death On The Nile and the day before Westworld.
Fri 23: Radio 1 has launched another streaming-only Sounds-exclusive variant called Radio 1 relax, which is refreshingly pop-free and quite good as background music so long as you avoid the wellness hours.



Sat 24: A swish new poster has gone up at Dangleway North promoting the Private Cabin Experience, cost £90, despite the fact that every group of travellers gets its own cabin at the moment for social distancing reasons.
Sun 25: Londonist continues to have a very muted pandemic. Over the last week it's only published five posts, one of which was 'The Best of Londonist' (which simply listed the other four). Meanwhile Time Out managed 13, mostly promoting venues coming out of lockdown, and marketing cannon Secret London spaffed 30.
Mon 26: The new series of Just A Minute featured ten different chairs, presumably as an audition for taking over Nicholas Parsons' role permanently. Of the final four Jo Brand wasn't strict enough, Julian Clary's natural waspishness was wasted, Tom Allen felt unfamiliarly modern and Stephen Fry was effortlessly excellent (but I suspect wouldn't always be available as a regular host).
Tue 27: Found a plaque in Central Park, East Ham, commemorating the miniature railway that operated here for "3 glorious years". A 1940s Pathé newsreel answered all my questions.



Wed 28: The Blossom Garden in the Olympic Park is nearly complete, now with a proper walkway, tidied lawn and several benches. Many of the 33 trees are in full fruity blossom at the moment, but I fear the garden can't be officially opened until after the Mayoral election and all the white and pink will have dropped by then.
Thu 29: For those of you wanting an update on my numberplate-spotting, in the last fortnight my second attempt at Full Reverse Chronological has sped through 21 to 51, then prefix Y to prefix A, then suffix Y to suffix S, so only 15 more to go. Meanwhile my attempt to spot all 420 personalised registrations from A1 to Y20 is going really well and after two months I only have seventeen more to tick off. The sole missing single-digit pair is P3. The only other absence below the teens is L10. Y is proving the most elusive letter (I still need Y13, Y14, Y16 and Y17).
Fri 30: For those of you not wanting an update on my numberplate-spotting, I can instead offer you five items from today's Tesco receipt: gammon joint, whole cucumber, raspberry cheesecake, low quality scones, reduced-salt ketchup.


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